While the exploration of birds and music is not a new concept, it’s the carriers of the song that make such projects memorable. A few years ago Hanna Tuulikki launched her ‘Away with the Birds’ project which explored the mimesis of birds in Gaelic song (read our interview here). It was ambitious and beautiful, at its very heart was a composition she wrote for nine female singers.
Now, two of our favourite artists are to join forces to explore birdsong, ecology, folklore and themes of migration and movements of birds and humans. Both share a great deal in common when it comes to nature and music making them an ideal partnership.
Inge Thomson is a Fair Islander so it’s not surprising that nautical themes frequent her musical creations, arguably none more so than Da Fishing Hands project. I interviewed Inge in 2014 about the project (read it here) on which she touched on the importance of birds to Fair Isle. She shared a very holistic view of the how everything connects and explained how “the birds, especially the seabirds and rare migrants, bring people from all over the world this, in turn, supports the fine traditional crafts etc. enabling the Isle to survive.”
Likewise, Jenny Sturgeon is equally close to nature and the theme of birds often arises in her music. Her last EP was The Wren And The Salt Air – it was commissioned by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) and comprised of four new pieces of music inspired by the wildlife and human history of St Kilda, Britain’s most remote island group. Woven into the tracks were her field recordings of the birds of St Kilda, as well as those of composer, author and ornithologist Magnus Robb (‘The Sound Approach’) who is also involved in this new project.
As well as Magnus Robb they are also joined by Jason Singh (Follow the Fleet) and Sarah Hayes (Admiral Fallow). They plan to take the show on the road next year.
Talking about the project on Facebook they shared this:
Humans have always looked to the birds. In mythology, they are carriers of souls, messengers to the gods, our familiars. In ecology, they are our measure, our meter, they mark the seasons. In this new work Inge Thomson and Jenny Sturgeon will explore bird song, ecology, folklore and themes of migration and movements of birds and humans.
Inge said “I grew up on Fair Isle surrounded by salt and sea and fish and birds. I have been making music all my life and have a deep affection for the piano keyed accordion. I love creating sound and get really excited at that particular moment when I hear a new sound emerge from my tinkerings and so begins the process of applying it to my music or creating new music informed by it. Northern Flyway offers me the opportunity to deeply explore the sonic properties and possibilities of birdsong. I’m particularly eager to work with the world-class sound recordings of Magnus Robb and share a stage with the supreme talent of Jenny Sturgeon, Jason Singh and Sarah Hayes.”
Make sure you follow the Facebook page as they reveal more on the project and the key players behind it.
Find out more here: https://www.facebook.com/northernflyway